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Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?

cnd 21 Dec 15 - 11:10 PM
Wesley S 21 Dec 15 - 11:49 PM
GUEST,Me 22 Dec 15 - 03:36 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Dec 15 - 04:12 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Dec 15 - 04:15 AM
gillymor 22 Dec 15 - 04:30 AM
banjoman 22 Dec 15 - 06:01 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 22 Dec 15 - 06:13 AM
Jack Campin 22 Dec 15 - 06:13 AM
PHJim 22 Dec 15 - 11:54 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 22 Dec 15 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Dec 15 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Sol 22 Dec 15 - 12:05 PM
Gurney 22 Dec 15 - 01:13 PM
Tattie Bogle 22 Dec 15 - 07:58 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Dec 15 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Dec 15 - 11:36 PM
banjoman 23 Dec 15 - 04:33 AM
GUEST 23 Dec 15 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 23 Dec 15 - 09:16 AM
Roger the Skiffler 23 Dec 15 - 10:39 AM
Uncle_DaveO 23 Dec 15 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Anon. 23 Dec 15 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Stim 23 Dec 15 - 04:44 PM
HuwG 23 Dec 15 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,AR 23 Dec 15 - 07:53 PM
Mr Red 24 Dec 15 - 01:50 PM
PHJim 24 Dec 15 - 08:28 PM
Mr Red 06 Feb 16 - 07:41 AM
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Subject: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: cnd
Date: 21 Dec 15 - 11:10 PM

I've been going through and watching a lot of old videos of Flatt and Scruggs playing, among others, and noticed that a lot of musicians back then had their names on their instruments. For example, Uncle Josh has his name on the Dobro Strap and Hylo Brown had his name at the base of the guitar. I'm sure you can think of some others. My question is, why did/do people do this, and who started it? My guess is that they did it so they could get credit immediately, but anyone know for sure? Also, do people still do this?


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Dec 15 - 11:49 PM

Self promotion comes to mind. And it always seemed to me that it was more popular in country music and bluegrass than other places.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: GUEST,Me
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 03:36 AM

For the same reason footballers have signature boots or cricketers signature bats and pads.

Occasionally, guitar specials are through the guitarist helping with the design, which if they genuinely help can lead to a good guitar. The Gordon Giltrap model Vintage make at a reasonable price being a good example, or Martin Simpson's work with PRS. I doubt Eric Clapton had a hand in a Martin design that was old before he was born though....


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 04:12 AM

Yup, always thought Nokie Edward's (The Ventures) name strap looked a bit out of place in a surf band, until I learned he's an Okie.

I think the word was "personalize." Sort of like today's "vanity" license plates for autos. For the American south and southwest it once applied to most any strip of leather - gun carry straps; cowboy belts; you name it (:::rim shot:::)

The Tandy Leather mail-order catalog with all the tooling used to be as popular as the Sears & Roebuck one we bought our jeans out of. Used to could pay just a little extra for monograms on hankies and shirts too. Gentler times.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 04:15 AM

In case they get too wasted to remember who they are.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: gillymor
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 04:30 AM

Not exactly to the point of the thread but I once owned an early 60's Gibson J-200 that had "Steve Young" prominently scrawled in it in black ink and I've always wondered if it had belonged to the guy who wrote "Traveling Kind" and some other noteworthy songs.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: banjoman
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 06:01 AM

I always write my name in indelible ink on the inside of my banjos, mainly as a security thing. I had a banjo stolen some years ago and recovered it from a pawn shop because I could prove that it had been made by me and the theft reported to the police.
Probably nothing to do with the jist of this thread but a timely warning .


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 06:13 AM

One reason that I got a concertina back after it was stolen was that it had my name written on it!


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrmt?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 06:13 AM

Not American, and from before rock and roll or country:

Jimmy Shand


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: PHJim
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 11:54 AM

Jimmie Rodgers and Gene Autry both had their names on the fingerboard in large letters that could be read from the audience. Many players have their names inlaid in smaller letters at the twelfth fret or on the truss rod cover. Names on tooled leather straps is very common, even among amateurs. Elvis used mailbox letters to put his name on a Martin dreadnought (the famous "Elvi" guitar). Many musicians also paint their names on the side of their tour buses.
While I can see the advantage of being identifiable immediately, I'd think this would hurt the re-sale value of the instrument unless it was done by a very famous musician.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 11:58 AM

I've never considered putting a name on a strap to be odd. It's no more objectionable to me than having bath linens monogrammed. It can be self-promotional and egotistical, but it can also help identify your guitar at parties and jam sessions where damned near everyone plays nearly identical looking Martin dreadnoughts.

What's weird is having one's name inlayed in mother-of-pearl on a guitar's fingerboard. Now that's blatant self-promotion.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 12:04 PM

Perhaps it's their mum's who label the guitars with identifying names.

My mum was a right embarrassing pain doing that with all my school uniform, satchel and towels...

She bought a whole roll of sew in labels with my name printed on it... 😬


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 12:05 PM

IMO, it's a form of self abuse in public :-)


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: Gurney
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 01:13 PM

As banjoman and BBCWrestler point out, there are thieves about.
As others point out, professional self-promotion.
Years ago, I had all the registration #s of my electronics and instruments registered with my insurance company for the first reason. That way you have a chance of getting them back in the event of.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 07:58 PM

Slight thread drift, but also come across musicians who give their instruments names. We did this as a bit of a joke during a ceilidh band trip to Spain when we went to a Sunday market with all those woven wrist bands with names on them: the 2 cellos became Pablo and Alfonso, and my accordion became Carlos, but the best one was one of our fiddle players' choice of ......Fidel!
Another friend who plays various stringy things has "Big Mandy" (octave mandolin)and "Little Mandy" (standard mandolin) - then she bought a cittern which is...... "Kitty"


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 08:57 PM

When I was a teenage punkrocker back in the late 70s
I carefully cut the brand names off house hold kitchen & toiletry product packaging
such as Paxo Bisto Bovril Brute Tampax Durex etc
and blue tacked them over the head stock names on my guitars
and name plate of my amps....

Still slightly tempted to do it.. shame I'm a sensible grown up now...😜


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 11:36 PM

PHJim: "Elvis used mailbox letters to put his name on a Martin dreadnought (the famous "Elvi" guitar). "
Stevie Ray Vaughan supposedly got his glitter "SRV" at a Texas truck stop.

I think bass drums have always been a billboard:
http://www.goreadingberks.com/articles/images/johnphillipsousa/stcyrilboysbandlarge.jpg

For a century or so the circus calliope was a musical instrument with the sole purpose of self-promotion. You could hear some of the big "named" steam powered beasties 3-4 miles away:
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2729/4451411291_d43bdab2c8_z.jpg

(For some reason I can't make a "blue clicky" out of those.)


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: banjoman
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 04:33 AM

Famous banjo player and maker from the thirties, Emile Grimshaw, usually had his name somewhere on instruments. I have one of his banjos (sadly in bits at the moment) which has his initials in mother of pearl on the headstock as well as similar down the neck. It also has his signature on the velum.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 05:15 AM

All mine have a fairly well hidden identification in them. By declaring I had done it, I did get a decent insurance discount.

This is really about marketing though, and if Martin can sell more by having Ed Sheeran or Eric Clapton's signature, that is a business model.

A jazz musician I did some work with a long time ago always played Yamaha any instrument he played. Not because of quality, value, ease of use or sound, but because his session and backing band work didn't pay too well and Yamaha kept him going in instruments in return for his photo on the odd advert and the occasional shop session at their stockists.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 09:16 AM

There are a few notable guitarists who are notorious for being very promiscuous with endorsement contracts.
Moving from one equipment brand to another
as freely as a prize bull servicing a field of cows.


This has worked to my advantage when one contract for use of name and image expires
and the remaining endorsed signature products have to be sold off quickly and cheap... 😜


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 10:39 AM

My wife bought some stick-on letters for my washboard I didn't use them when I realised they read "please steal me".
RtS


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 01:55 PM

This is a little bit of thread creep, I suppose.

Almost fifty-two years ago, when my Beautiful Wife and I had only been married about four months, I had to call her from the office and tell her, "I won't be home until all hours tonight. A rush job came up that I HAVE to finish before I can think about coming home!" My newlywed wife was (needless to say) not enthusiastic, but what can you do? I dragged my weary carcass into bed about two o'clock.

The very next night I had to call her AGAIN and say, "I've got ANOTHER rush job; you go to bed, and I'll be home when I can!" Further unenthusiastic rumblings. This time it was about four o'clock when I left the office.

The following morning I was able to assure her that the situation that caused those late nights was over, and I said, with a grin, "I hope you didn't think there was another woman!"

My new wife's reply: "Well, the thought had crossed my mind!"

(Have patience; I'll get to the punch line in a little while!)

Over the years, with the crazy hours I had to work sometimes, we built up a legend of "the other woman" at the office downtown. She was a statuesque Nordic blonde, sort of a Swedish masseuse type, with long blonde braids down her back, and her name was Olga.

When I retired in 1996 I decided that I'd always wanted to learn 5-string banjo, so I did. When I could afford to replace the El Cheapo piece of junk I'd been learning on, I had Mike Ramsey build me a beautiful natural blonde curly-maple open-back to my specifications, and I had him inlay the name "OLGA" at the 10th fret.

I said nothing of that name on the fingerboard to my Beautiful Wife. When at last that long-looked-for UPS shipment arrived and I opened the case, there, for all to see, at the 10th fret was the name "OLGA", my new mistress! My B.W. nearly collapsed on the floor, laughing.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST,Anon.
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 04:10 PM

I remember once being in a session with a Moderately Famous Melodeon Player whose Christian name was the same as the make of his instrument. MFMP went to some pains to point that out.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 04:44 PM

I think it is worth remembering that til fairly recently, Country and Western artists played on bills with many other artists-so it was very helpful to have your name prominently displayed whether on the neck, strap, headstock, or even on the guitar itself so people would know who you were.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: HuwG
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 06:46 PM

I have a manual which shows Johnny Cash recording, with a crude paper label with "CASH" on it, sellotaped (scotch taped) to the sound board of his Martin D45. It was explained that this was to prevent backstage confusion with other artists' similar instruments.

Presumably, this was in the days before every other artist would have grovelled before Cash and his instrument.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: GUEST,AR
Date: 23 Dec 15 - 07:53 PM

I suppose it makes marginally more sense than putting someone ELSE'S name on one's instrument.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 Dec 15 - 01:50 PM

It pays to advertise. Branding. Product placement. Remember the photos get everywhere! In a crowded genre, how do you stand out? Particularly with wannabe imitators.

I remember seeing so country & western scene in a movie (can't remember which) and the C&W singer's character/band differed from the name set in marquetry in the fretboard. I thought it naff, artistically then, but how many starving wannabe musicians are there out there?

"Waylon" - no prizes for guessing.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: PHJim
Date: 24 Dec 15 - 08:28 PM

When my son's band was opening for ZZ Top, Billy asked them why they didn't have their name on the bass drum. "You want to advertise your band, not Remo."
That night he made them a bass drum label on the computer and taped it onto the bass drum.


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Subject: RE: Why Musicians Put Their Name on Instrument?
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Feb 16 - 07:41 AM

If it is good enough for Jimmie Rogers, it is good enough for anyone.

YouTube of Jimmie singing - suspend the logic of begging a "house" guitar that has his name on the fretboard.


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